Few cutting-edge technologies have shaken up the retail world the way beacons have. According to a recent research report titled ‘Global Bluetooth Beacon Device Market in Retail 2016-2020’, the global Bluetooth beacon device market in retail will grow at a remarkable CAGR of around 17% during the forecast period.
However, iBeacon technology with its need to have a beacon-enabled app in place to interact with customers, couldn’t really help marketers nail mobile moments that matter. This is exactly what Google’s Eddystone was set out to change. So much so that according to a recent report, Eddystone technology is expected to grow at a higher CAGR than iBeacon, and it is likely to get close to the market share of iBeacon during 2016-2020.
One announcement that took the beacon world by storm since the launch of Eddystone in 2015, was the launch of Google Nearby at Google I/O 2016. Particularly because of the game-changing advantages that it offered app marketers. However, there were a number of hiccups that brands still had to go through (such as the need to create a webpage and host it before posting the URL on the Nearby platform) to make the most of Nearby notifications.
This is exactly what we, at MobStac set out to change, by integrating Google’s Nearby platform with Beaconstac’s Eddystone platform. In this blog, we will take you through how Beaconstac aims to offer an enhanced experience via Nearby notifications.
What is a Nearby Notification? What does it look like?
When a user with a mobile device that runs on Android 4.3 and above and has Bluetooth and location turned on, comes near an Eddystone beacon, he/she will receive Nearby notifications. While these notifications are not accompanied by a sound or buzz, they will appear in the notification centre when a user needs to be aware of them.
Once he/she clicks on that notification, he/she will be able to view the entire list of URLs or notifications that are being transmitted. In this case, these notifications could prompt them to install an app from the Google Play Store or open a webpage. You could also use these notifications to direct him/her to specific parts or features in the app if he/she has already installed the app on his/her device.
Given how new the technology is, marketers and business owners are finding answers to a host of queries related to Nearby. To help you make the best use of Nearby and come up with interesting Nearby implementations, we wrote a blog post addressing FAQs about Nearby.
Nearby notifications that direct users to Google Play Store are accompanied by some description that is attached to the deep link and the cover image of the app on the Google Play Store. If the user already has the app installed on his/her device, the Nearby notification will be accompanied by an ‘Open in App’ CTA. In cases where the user is yet to install the app on his/her device, the Nearby notification will be accompanied by an ‘Install App’ CTA (as seen in the 1st notification in the above screenshot).
On the other hand, Nearby notifications that direct users to a webpage are accompanied by the title and description that is attached to this URL, just like it appears on Google search results (as seen in the 2nd notification in the above screenshot). Clicking on any notification of his/her choice will direct him/her to the corresponding webpage on the Chrome app or the app page on the Google Play Store.
Adding on to that, unlike general Eddystone notifications, Nearby notifications are accompanied by icons (i.e either the app icon from the Google Play Store page or the icon used on the website).
Nearby notifications extend a lot of power and flexibility to marketers in terms of what they can do with beacon campaigns – why Nearby is superior to Physical Web and CloseBy.
The cons of using Google’s Nearby platform
(a) Doesn’t allow users to customize cards
Cards are basically creatives that show up as a notification on the visitor’s mobile device once they are in the range of a beacon. Google’s Nearby platform doesn’t allow you to customize cards. You will have to first create a webpage or card, host it and then post the corresponding URL on the Google Nearby platform, under the beacon that will be transmitting it. Apart from being time consuming, this also makes it difficult for marketers to make changes to the card or webpage that is transmitted.
(b) No access to user analytics
While beacons are popularly known for their ability to allow marketers to send contextual notifications to customers, 2016 saw marketers all over leverage beacons increasingly to gain access to consumer insights via analytics. Given this, one of the major disadvantages of Google’s Nearby platform is that it only provides marketers with access to beacon health stats. While this is helpful when it comes to being in the know-how of battery levels of the beacon and when it’s time to change them, it doesn’t help much with gaining consumer insights.
How Beaconstac offers an enhanced experience via Nearby Notifications
(a) Helps drive app installs
Driving app installs is a crucial metric for most businesses today. And when it comes to beacon-enabled apps, most brands simply stick relevant posters advertising the promising proximity features offered by the app, at the deployment space/ venue. However, more than often, users find the process of having to search through Google Play store, install the app and then navigate through the app to find features that would interest them, to be a little cumbersome.
Using Beaconstac you can now leverage Nearby notifications to trigger an app install to launch an app and perform a specific action. This allows users to tap on a push notification, install the app in a single click and then launch the promoted feature directly on the app. Alternatively, if the app isn’t installed on the user’ device, he/she can be redirected to a mobile web page of your choice.
All that you have to do is click on the beacon of your choice, add a title and description and list out the intent scheme and intent path (or the deep link that you want users to be redirected to) along with the package name of the app. Adding on to that, you can also provide a web URL as a fallback option.
This way if the user hasn’t installed the app on his/her device, he/she can be redirected to a mobile web page which could elaborate on the features offered by the app.
(b) Offers advanced user analytics
Another significant advantage offered by the Beaconstac platform is that it provides you with access to highly advanced analytics metrics which will help you keep track of both beacon and campaign performance, the kind of notifications that were received by visitors at various areas in the deployment space, which sections saw maximum conversion and more.
(c) Allows you to create cards dynamically using simple markdown language
Beaconstac platform also saves you the trouble of having to create a webpage or card and host it separately. You can now create cards dynamically using simple markdown language. All you need to do is add a title to identify your card with ease and then type in the text (in simple markdown language format) and add an image that you want to display to your visitors. You can even preview it on the platform. Once you have finalized on the look and text to be displayed on the card, save it for later use.
We have put together a video webinar on how Google Nearby will impact your business and how it can be leveraged to succeed with beacons – watch it here.
If you are looking to get started on a short pilot, head to our Beaconstac store page and invest in a set of beacons and our Premium subscription plan. You can have the campaigns up and running in less than 15 mins!